ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Thursday called for the recovery of Rs13 billion spent on the advertisement campaign of Diamer-Bhasha Dam Fund from former chief justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar.
Speaking at a press conference with former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif outside the Parliament House, PML-N organising committee chairman Ahsan Iqbal said that the former chief justice fooled the nation in the name of the dam fund.
Editorial: End the dam fund
He said that Rs9 billion had been collected for the dam fund while Rs13 billion spent on the advertisement campaign for it, adding that the amount spent on the advertisement campaign must be recovered from the former chief justice.
He said that it had been claimed at the time of launching of the dam fund drive that overseas Pakistanis would send $200 billion, but the share of expatriates in the amount collected for the dam was just Rs1.25 billion.
The PML-N leader said that the rest of the amount had been forcibly deducted from salaries of government employees, including Rs2 billion from salaries of the armed forces.
He pointed out that the Diamer-Bhasha dam was a Rs1,100 billion project and the PML-N government had spent Rs122 billion on acquisition of land and allocated another Rs24 billion for the project, without collecting any donations.
Mr Iqbal said that State Bank of Pakistan’s recent report was a charge-sheet against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government’s incompetence which clearly showed an increase of Rs100 billion in deficit in the first quarter as compared to the previous year.
He termed the current PTI government a threat to the country and said that they had promised to make a Naya Pakistan and turned it into a paradise, but actually they had pushed the people into a hell.
He also criticised the government for increasing power and gas charges.
“You (the PTI leaders) said that you will accumulate Rs190 billion in taxes and the people will shower taxes after looking at you as the people trust you, but in the first quarter after you have assumed power the deficit has risen by Rs100 billion,” Mr Iqbal said, pointing out that the situation on the ground was entirely different from the claims the PTI leaders had made before coming to power.
He termed the PTI-led government a minority government, saying that “we are in the opposition after securing 25 million votes, but the PTI is in power after obtaining just 17 million votes”.
Speaking on the occasion, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said: “The arrest of Sindh Assembly speaker without any proof is unwarranted and it is an attack on democracy. This is not a personal matter of Agha Siraj Durrani, but that of a sitting speaker.”
Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2019